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Why Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Lecturers Boycotted ASUU Strike



By Our Reporter

Lecturers under the payroll of the Anambra State-owned- Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU), pulled out of the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) because they will not directly benefit from the improved pay rise and another welfare package the striking workers were fighting for.

The COOU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Greg Nwakobi, who disclosed while speaking at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) July Congress in Awka, explained that the union decided in the interest of staff and students of the institution.
Prof Nwakoby who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics), Prof Osita Chiaghanam explained that there was no justification for COOU to shutdown its academic activities because of an industrial dispute between ASUU and the federal government whereas the Anambra state government provides adequate funding to the institution including prompt payment of staff salaries, infrastructure and enabling environment for academic activities.

Recall that ASUU COOU, in February, when ASUU commenced its warning strike declared that it would not participate in the earlier one-month warning strike backed by the parent body. On the rationale behind the school’s decision to steer clear of the industrial dispute, Nwakoby said.
He said: “Salaries of the Federal universities are funded 100 per cent by the federal government, whereas the state universities work out their salaries from subventions and internal revenues. Had the state university participated in the strike action and at the end of negotiation an agreement been reached, the federal government implements immediately while we at the state universities will have to meet the governors to renegotiate for the implementation.

“It is like the N30,000 minimum wage. It is assumed that civil servants at all state levels are paid N30,000 minimum wage, but I can count the number of states that are implementing it. It is not just the issue of joining the strike after the strike, the federal government will start implementing it immediately but will take longer for the governors to implement it at the state level.

“We have studied the system, understood it and at every point in time we know how best to present our matter to the governing council and the appropriate authority for solutions,” he said.

ASUU has been at loggerheads with the federal government following the government’s refusal to fulfil the agreements it reached with the Union in 2009. Part of the agreement includes the replacement of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) with the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS); the release of the reports of visitation panels to federal universities; and improved funding for the revitalisation of public universities and others.

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